Minister Sue takes part in ‘Swimathon’ for Marie Curie

By GEM Staff Reporter in Local People

A church minister is set to tackle ‘Swimathon 2017’ in aid of Marie Curie, after seeing first-hand the care provided at the charity’s Penarth hospice.

Sue Fender, who has been minister at Elfed Avenue Church in the town for the past five years, will tackle a 2.5km swim as part of the nationwide swimming challenge.

The event takes place across the weekend of April 7-9 and is extra special this year because Swimathon will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

This year money will be raised for Marie Curie, which provides care and support for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

Rather than taking part on the official weekend, Sue will be doing her swim at Penarth Leisure Centre on April 15 – Easter Saturday.

It will be the second time Sue has taken on the challenge – the first was in 2012 when she managed to raise £850.

“It went much better than I thought, a little thing called adrenaline kicked in,” said the mum-of-two.

“I really did enjoy it, and I’ve wanted to do it again and for various reasons was not been able to. I also wanted to wait until it was in partnership with Marie Curie again.”

It was during a visit to the Cardiff and Vale Hospice in Penarth that Sue first found out about the challenge.

“There have been a number of my church members who have been cared for at the Penarth hospice and their end of life care has just been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“It’s about giving people the best ‘end of life care’ and doing whatever we can do to make life more comfortable.

“I am driven by that because I’ve seen people who have died painfully and lonely, or not pleasantly, and then I find myself wishing they could have had the opportunities that somewhere like this can give. That’s motivation enough for me.”

One of Sue’s church members cared for at the hospice was Trevor Chinn, the late husband of Barbara Chinn, who died in the January before Sue’s first swim.

Barbara said: “Sue’s Swimathon challenge all started in Trevor’s memory. I was very touched and very proud when she first told me. The care at the hospice was incredible. They let us stay there overnight for three nights towards the end.

“Trevor was made so comfortable at the hospice, the nurses were wonderful with him. There was nothing he asked for that he didn’t get. If he fancied something, they would get it and they were very kind to Ruth and I. They did all they could for us. It’s the most wonderful, caring place.

“The hospice was there if we needed help afterwards as well. I was fortunate that I had my church too.”

As well as fundraising for the charity, the swim is a personal challenge for Sue, who lives with fibromyalgia – a long-term condition which causes pain over the body.

“I didn’t think there was much point in doing something that I could just crawl out of bed and do, so I wanted that personal challenge and that’s part of my motivation for this year as well.”

If you wish to sponsor Sue, see For further information about Swimathon including how to sign up visit

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